Herbal Supplements Leave Out Safety Information

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Herbal Supplements Largely Unregulated

Herbal and dietary pills are largely unregulated when compared to pharmaceutical products. They are not evaluated by the FDA, and sometimes the dose and purity listed on the label is inaccurate, said Dr. Donald Hensrud, associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at Mayo Clinic.

"There are many factors contributing to lack of awareness of safety issues with herbal and other dietary supplements, and there may be times when a problem is occurring yet we are completely unaware," said Hensrud. "Requiring safety information on the label is one step in helping to decrease safety-related incidents."

"Now that's something I'd like to see," said Levy. "I really wish we had regulation where companies had to prove purity and dose in their products."

But because the industry is largely unregulated, experts said patients should tell their doctors about any natural or herbal remedies they are taking and doctors should ask about all supplements use.

"People should familiarize themselves with good information on the safety, side effects, and efficacy of any herbal supplements they take." said Hensrud. "This should be done through a reliable source, such as websites from the FDA, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, or the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine."

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